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City of Sydney proposes energy targets for development applications

In an Australian-first plan, the City of Sydney is considering mandatory energy target requirements for building development applications. Should the council proceed, development applications would have to comply with minimum energy performance standards.

Summarised in a report, Performance standards to net zero energy buildings, the proposal requires applications to comply with minimum energy ratings from January 2023, achieving net-zero energy output by 2026. Along with new developments, it also covers major redevelopments of existing buildings.

To move buildings towards net zero energy use, the city’s new planning controls will combine energy efficiency and the use of onsite and offsite renewables.

“Energy use in buildings is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” says Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “Commercial office space, hotels and apartment buildings contribute 68 per cent of total emissions in our local government area.

“If we’re to meet our target of net zero emissions by 2035, we need to ensure this sector is contributing to emissions reduction through increased energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy production, and offsite renewable energy procurement.”

City of Sydney experts say the measures are expected to help the city meet its target of net zero emissions by 2035. They are also anticipated to save more than $1.3 billion on energy bills from 2023 to 2040 for investors, businesses and occupants.

The building performance standards were developed with input from developers, industry bodies, consultants and government agencies.

“The performance standards and evidence base can be used by all councils across Greater Sydney,” Moore says, “and will support investment in renewable energy and create jobs in regional areas – as we have already done through our investment in wind farms and solar farms in Inverell, Nowra and Wagga Wagga.”

The City of Sydney anticipates that the changes will produce annual savings for commercial office owners of $2,750 per 1,000m2 of floor area, and for hotel owners of $170 per room. The council says significant public health benefits and savings in energy-network and emissions costs would also be delivered.

The Performance standards to net zero energy buildings report is under council consideration. For more information click here.

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